Kursaal

AN APPROXIMATION TO THE HISTORY OF THE KURSAAL

The Gran Kursaal was inaugurated on the 15th of August of 1921 and was, for the first quarter of the century, one of the most important architectural works of the city. Its image arose as one of the best urban landscapes of a splendid, cosmopolitan and, to a certain point, arrogant city: San Sebastian during the Belle Epoque.

Three years later, in the midnight of the 31st of October 1924, on the height of Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship, the prohibition of gambling was ordered and the casino closed its doors.

The Gran Kursaal, with the prohibition of gambling, came to be the provisional venue of diverse activities until 1972, when the owners decided to demolish it.

The site, a pending subject during two decades, became municipal property. It was a unique occasion for providing the city, through public promotion, with an Auditorium and Congress Centre.

In 1989 a Technical Enquiry was held for which six internationally well known architects were invited: Mario Botta, Norman Foster, Arata Isozaki, Rafael Moneo, Juan Navarro Baldeweg and Luis Peña Ganchegui.

Finally, in 1990, and among six proposals, the one of Rafael Moneo was selected “because of its correct consideration of the site as a geographic inflection at the mouth of Urumea river and the liberation of public spaces as open platforms to the sea and specially because of the clearness, bravery and originality of the proposal” as it said on the resolution of the jury.

Since then, the Kursaal is an emblematic space where the most representative events of  San Sebastian take place, like the Gastronomika – Congress of Gastronomy, San Sebastian Film Festival, Jazzaldia or  the Musical Fortnight. It is also the perfect framework for celebrating all kind of congresses, conventions, journeys, exhibitions, concerts and shows.

IXO group is the awarded company of the Kursaal’s restaurant industry services.